Meet our Local Hero!

Rob, 70, from Welling in Kent, is a former bespoke shirt maker, who honed his craft on Bond Street and Savile Row.  Rob was nominated to be Hero of the Month by his friend Rick, with whom he regularly plays golf.

Here we learn about Rob and his fascinating career, and discover how golf has become his sanctuary amidst the demanding role of being a devoted caregiver to his wife, Frances, who bravely battles Alzheimer's disease.

Rob says: “I loved being a tailor, it’s such a specialist skill. I left school at 15 and learnt my trade on Jermyn Street. It was exciting to be young and in London during the swinging sixties, and over the years I worked for some amazing tailoring houses including Dege & Skinner on Savile Row. I have made bespoke shirts for many rich and famous people, including royalty, actors and singers. My career took me across the world, travelling all over America for trunk shows.  I’m proud to have trained an apprentice too, passing my skills onto the next generation. I believe that if my wife hadn’t become unwell, I would still be working in some capacity on Savile Row."

Rob married his wife Frances in 1980, and the couple went on to have two daughters. Rob says: “Frances used to work for WHSmith producing their internal communications and magazine.  After having a family she changed career to be more available for our girls, and worked as a school first aider and then in a library. Frances was the perfect mum, she did everything for our family. The girls and I love her very much.

“Frances was first diagnosed 10 years ago. We noticed she was becoming more forgetful and couldn’t remember where she had parked the car.  As her condition worsened, I reduced my hours to three days a week, but then ultimately Frances required full time care and I retired.  It is such a cruel disease, and since diagnosis she has lost most of her speech and doesn’t recognise us anymore.  It’s so unfair as Frances was such a friendly and warm person, and we’ve been robbed of that.

“Caring for Frances can be hard work; it’s around the clock, a 24-hour responsibility, so I don’t really get much time off, apart from Friday’s when I play golf at Mytime Active’s Ruxley or Cray Valley Golf Course.”

Rob explains: “I’ve always really enjoyed playing golf and have found it to be a relaxing and sociable game. I play with local friends, and have a yearly golfing holiday with my brother-in-law.

“My daughter, Chloe, looks after Frances on a Friday, giving me the space and time to enjoy golf.  I’m not a good player, I’m still waiting to break 90, however, I love the company and the banter on the course.  It's good to chat with my friends and I enjoy lunch or a drink/coffee with them afterwards.  It really is the only time in the week that I can relax and have some respite from daily caring responsibilities.

“I’m surprised and touched to have been nominated for Hero of the Month, as I’m simply looking after my wife to ensure she is as safe and content as possible.  But I’m looking forward to my six month free Mytime Active membership.  I hope to be able to keep playing golf with my friends on Fridays, and am thinking about trying out the driving range too.

“Men traditionally find it hard to talk and open up, but whilst playing golf, we really do have a lot of conversation and laughter.  It’s the perfect antidote as it gets me out of the house, I get some exercise and fresh air, as well as catching up with friends.”

Mytime Active